January 10, 2024 10:37 pm

There are so many factors that go into an individual’s body type that it’s often difficult to know what fat-reduction treatments will work best for any given patient. Age, gender, lifestyle, genetics, and metabolism are just several of the variables that determine not only whether a person is overweight or not but also their fat composition.

Whether you are considering Emerald Laser lipolysis, emsculpting, or another clinical fat-reduction process, it’s essential to know whether or not the treatments are likely to work on you. This article will present a side-by-side comparison between Emerald’s cool laser fat reduction technique and emsculpting.

Emerald Laser vs. Emsculpting: An Introduction to the Latest Body Contouring Techniques

Before we compare and contrast the two techniques, it’s important to understand the scientific principles behind each technique.


This technique uses high-intensity electromagnetic (HIFEM) energy on the muscles in a targeted region. The “em” in the name is a common abbreviation for electromagnetic. The muscles respond to the electrical pulses by contracting. These muscle contractions are far more intense than the stimulation that is achieved during an intense workout. Proponents of emsculpting maintain that this process increases muscle density, which leads to enhanced fat burning. However, in a paper published by the NIH entitled “A Systematic Review of Electromagnetic Treatments of Body Contouring” concluded that “Electromagnetic treatment effects are very small, often just a few millimeters, and may lie within the margin of error.”

Emerald Laser

Emerald Laser is a laser lipolysis device developed by Erchonia — the first laser lipolysis company to receive FDA market approval. Emerald Laser works by targeting lipocytes (fat cells) beneath the skin. Ten 532 nanometer lasers bore microscopic holes through the cell membranes while heating the lipids inside. This allows the liquified fats to seep through the tiny pores where they can be safely disposed of by the body’s lymphatic system. There have been multiple double-blind studies proving the efficacy of laser lipolysis — and Emerald Laser specifically. Emerald Laser is the only system approved for individuals with a BMI over 30.

Understanding the Science: How Emerald Laser and Emsculpting Target Fat and Muscle

When you understand how each process works, it becomes pretty clear that the principles are quite different. Emsculpting attempts to improve muscle conditioning and density with the expectation that this will lead to fat reduction, while laser lipolysis targets stubborn fat deposits. Broadly speaking, there are three ways to reduce fat: reduce your net caloric intake so your body burns fat, increase your metabolic rate to burn a higher number of calories (without increasing your intake), and physically remove fat.

Diet and Exercise

A balanced calorie-neutral or calorie-deficit diet combined with additional exercise to burn calories is one of the best ways to reduce fat. If you naturally metabolize 2,000 calories during your daily routine, you can reduce fat by decreasing your calorie intake below 2,000 per day, increasing your exercise to raise your daily calorie burn to more than 2,000, or both. For example, if you take in 1800 calories in food and beverages and burn 300 via exercise, you will run a 500-calorie deficit: 1800 – 2000 – 300 = -500. If you do this consistently, your body will burn fat for energy.

Increasing Muscle Mass

Unlike fat cells, which primarily store energy, muscle cells consume energy. The more muscle you have, the higher the number of calories you will require to reach your daily burn. The numbers vary from person to person, but if you burn 2,000 calories per day and gain muscle mass, your daily calorie requirements might climb to 2,100. That means you can consume 2,100 calories before your body starts to accumulate fat.

This is a bit of an oversimplification, but with all other factors being equal, individuals with higher muscle-to-fat ratios tend to burn more calories. This is a large part of the premise behind emsculpting: increase muscle to burn more fat.

Fat Removal

If you’ve ever committed to a serious diet and exercise, only to find that once you achieve your goal weight, you still have fatty deposits, you’re not alone. Even individuals with relatively low BMIs sometimes have stubborn pockets of fat in specific areas of their bodies. When this occurs, fat removal may be the best option.

Emerald Laser lipolysis works on this principle. While other fat reduction treatments produce marginal results, Emerald boasts an average circumference loss of six inches.

Safety and Efficacy: Clinical Results and Side Effects of Emerald Laser and Emsculpting

Emsculpting only received FDA approval in the past few years. While it appears to be relatively safe, there is some concern in the medical community over possible long-term side effects. There are some side effects associated with emsculpting, like soreness, redness, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. Some patients have described the experience as painful for at least a portion of each session. Overall, it’s considered a safe and possibly effective way to increase muscle density and definition.

While there are some side effects associated with other forms of laser lipolysis, Emerald Laser has no known side effects. Unlike laser lipolysis systems that destroy lipocytes, Emerald leaves fat cells empty but intact. When a laser fat removal method destroys fat cells, there is the danger that if the patient gains weight, the fat will be concentrated in intact cells. This can lead to a dangerous accumulation of fat around the vital organs. This is not only true of other laser lipo systems but of cryolipolysis (fat freezing) and liposuction. The bottom line is that Emerald Laser is safe and effective for patients.

Emsculpting vs. Emerald Laser

So, how do the two types of treatments compare to one another? We will do a direct comparison of several areas of interest to patients seeking these treatments.

Emerald Laser

  • Cost – Emerald Laser costs from $1,800 to $2,500 for a package of six sessions. Most people achieve partial results after the first session and maximum results after six.
  • Effectiveness – Emerald Laser has delivered proven results for patients. In three separate double-blind studies, Emerald Laser demonstrated results. In one of these studies, subjects experienced a 3.9-inch decrease in total combined circumference measurements. This compared to a 2.3-inch decrease in subjects who received placebo laser treatments. The test group had noticeable results in the first two weeks.
  • Safety – There are no known side effects associated with Emerald Lasers. It is painless, non-invasive, and requires no downtime. Additionally, unlike many other fat removal techniques, Emerald Laser does not remove or destroy fat cells. Lipocytes are drained but left intact.
  • Convenience – Emerald Laser sessions usually take less than 30 minutes. Patients can resume full physical activity with no downtime. Many providers offer early and weekend appointments, so patients are able to receive treatment before work, during lunch, after work, or on the weekend.


The pros of Emerald Laser are numerous. It’s safe, effective, and affordable, with financing options available for most patients.


Emerald Laser is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women. Additionally, although Emerald Laser is the only laser fat-removal system recommended for individuals with a BMI over 30, patients with a BMI over 40 are not candidates for this treatment.


  • Cost – Emsculpting costs $750 to $1500 per treatment. Even at the lower end of this range, it is more expensive than Emerald Laser, which runs about $300 to $400 per treatment, depending on the provider.
  • Effectiveness – Theoretically, emsculpting can increase muscle mass and density. However, some studies have shown marginal results when it comes to reducing fat. If you are already close to your goal weight, emsculpting may help further define areas of your body with stubborn fat deposits.
  • Safety – Although the medical community has some concerns about the long-term effects of emsculpting, there are no known safety risks for patients. Some patients experience pain during the treatment. The known side effects are mild.
  • Convenience – Emsculpting treatments also last about 30 minutes. However, patients should not exercise for 24 hours after each treatment. Additionally, providers recommend that patients avoid extreme heat and cold until a day has passed.


The treatment works on a sound theory and appears to be safe.


Emsculpting is relatively expensive when compared to Emerald Laser. Some studies have shown limited effectiveness. Additionally, some patients experience discomfort and unpleasant aftereffects.

Which Treatment is Right for You?

Before you decide on Emerald Laser or emsculpting, you should consult your physician. Neither treatment is a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve gained weight due to a poor diet or lack of exercise, you should try to address these issues prior to committing to cold fat removal treatment or emsculpting. If you have a higher BMI, Emerald Laser may be the preferred choice for you.